This first talking animals book in the "Candlewick Sparks" series by Laura McGee Kvasnosky is published by Candlewick Press, an imprint of Walker Books.
Zelda and Ivy: The Runaways is written for kids ages 5 to 8. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Zelda and Ivy are sisters who appear in three tales: "The Runaways," "The Time Capsule" and "The Secret Concoction." In the first story, the talking animal foxes run away (to their backyard) rather than eat Dad's cucumber sandwiches again. They bury their favorite toys in a time capsule in story No. 2, only to miss their treasures and dig them back up. When Zelda struggles to write a haiku in story No. 3, Ivy concocts a jar of "creative juice" for her sister made from items such as glue and orange juice.
Zelda and Ivy's parents appear only in the first story. Though they don't let on, they seem to realize that the girls have only "run away" to the backyard. They go about their business and even do fun things like dancing to lure the girls back home. When the girls do return, Mom and Dad don't waver — they still make their children eat the dreaded cucumber sandwiches.
Other Belief Systems
Zelda has a "lucky" jewel, which she believes will help her improve both her piano playing and her poetry writing. Ivy makes a potion for Zelda, hoping it will help her finish her poem.
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, Medal Winner 2007
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- What are some foods you don't like?
- Why do you think Zelda and Ivy's parents made them eat the cucumber sandwiches?
- Why do we sometimes make you eat things that aren't your favorite?
- If you were making a time capsule as Zelda and Ivy did, what things would you put inside?
- What items would you not include because you would miss them too much?
- Did the "creative juice" work the way Ivy wanted it to?
- What are some things we can do to get new ideas when we're trying to write or create something?
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.